THROWBACK: Kweller, Kings, Strokes in Paris December 10 2014, 1 Comment

On this date in 2003, The Strokes headlined Paris' infamous Zenith. Kings Of Leon was main support and BK was first of three. The Strokes were supporting their second album, Room On Fire, and their opening comrades were supporting their debut albums. This was the culmination of many shows where all three acts shared the stage together as part of the Strokes' Wyckyd Sceptre Tour. Below is a concert review from Les In Rocks Magazine, translated and paraphrased from French to English…


"The concert tonight gives Paris something to smile about. The Strokes, accompanied by Kings of Leon and Ben Kweller logically met a young, hungry vintage Zenith rock 'n' roll. The unique French date for The Strokes, had them presenting their second album, Room on Fire. This a great day for the Zenith, filled to the brim, which hosts the first part - a young Ben Kweller at the head of his energetic trio. My friend was already widely effused on the multiple talents of the young man at his concert the night before at La Boule Noire. To my amazement, the boy with a shy look fit right in to the disproportionately large Zenith, alternating between piano ballads and free power-pop guitars. In his twenty-two years, Ben has the great merit to daringly play endangered, naive melodies that can be found on the splendid album Sha Sha.

After a short break, rustic Kings of Leon take the stage for what will be their first French service. Expected to turn, the Kings of Leon does not disappoint the audience with the quintessence of their excellent debut album Youth & Young Manhood. The Followill family, with their incomprehensible look (Caleb, the singer is the perfect cross between a hippie and Derek Smalls turned on, the bassist's funny Spinal Tap mustache) would have us believe that the music stopped on the bayou with Creedence Clearwater Revival but it is not so: the pop-punk "California Waiting" looks more like a nice Strokes studio outtake. Some new songs, all of excellent quality, will also show that this group of talented musicians hopes to open up new horizons on their next record. The Kings of Leon completed their set with a devastating version of "Trani". On this last piece, rhythm chastened but the power multiplied, Caleb's hoarse voice, pushed into a corner, gave us goosebumps for a few good minutes after the lights are turned back on.

Needless to say that given the quality of the first two parts, the pressure on the shoulders of the Strokes was all the more formidable. Yet it will not take more than ten seconds, the clanking intro "Reptilia", to distract the public from the appetizers before them. While there is no doubt that you understand the great qualities of these New Yorkers' wall of sound on disk, tonight, they demonstrate that the scene is entitled to the same sonic preferential treatment. The group intelligently alternated pieces of Is This It?, their classic first album, and those of the new Room on Fire. "Modern Age" was chained directly to "12:51", a masterful "New York City Cops" played elbow to elbow with "You Talk Way Too Much". All with the tousled nonchalance that is now their trademark. There was no fat. Everything was clinically perfect. We would have liked a grain of sand, just a tiny grain of sand, to disrupt the machine close to perfection and make it more human. That grain of sand will not happen and at the end of the short official time, the group ended with "Take It Or Leave", played foot to the floor. All is OK because tonight, the Strokes were at the top of their game. See you in two years for their next visit to France, hoping that the fire will always be there."